So after Monday‘s great ride, Tuesday took a turn. The good news is that the weather tanked, going from the seventies to the fifties, which made it humanly possible to ride again. Of course, it also made all of the horses batshit crazy, so…
I was still a little nervous when I climbed aboard for my lesson on Wednesday (curse my anxiety in the saddle!), but thankfully Trainer M had a course of trail obstacles set up, so I spent most of the lesson at the walk (with a little bit of jog towards the end). Ezhno was a real pro at the trail obstacles (including a back through L, a bridge, raised ground poles, etc.) and I was really excited to have a chance to practice our trail—I want to do more trail stuff because it’s a lot of fun and Ezhno seems to enjoy it!
The other rider in my lesson ended up not being able to make it, so my trainer putzed around on Red the lesson horse while I did the obstacles. At some point Red started pulling up a little lame, so Trainer M had me get on and jog him around so that she could see the lameness from the ground. It was weird riding Red, who is very much a forward horse, especially compared to lazy Ezhno. Not to mention that he was pretty bouncy. 😛
Then Trainer M hopped aboard Ezhno to take a look at his canter transitions for me while I chilled on Red the Couch…
OF COURSE HE WAS FINE FOR HER. “Left lead? No big deal. You want a simple lead change? Yep, I can do that. Halt from the canter? Hell yeah, that’s easy. Mom was being dramatic, I’m actually the best horse ever.”
I’m still kind of worried about Ezhno breaking again, so Thursday we had a pretty chill ride (yes, logically I know that two minutes of cantering isn’t going to hurt him, BUT STILL). Trainer M had an exercise she called the Success Star (or the Death Star, depending on how well it went for her students) set up in the arena. We spent most of our time meandering on and off the wall, but we did go over the star at the walk a few times—Ezhno thought it was super easy, #nbdmom
I got up early on Friday morning for an appointment with Jason from JL Horse Shoeing. I’ve been on the quest for a new farrier for a couple of shoeing cycles now, and I had the opportunity to meet Jason when he did a set of farrier demos for a large group of vet tech students that came to the barn to learn about horses in March. I liked how talkative Jason was—I want a farrier who explains everything that he’s doing!
New feet successfully installed! I liked the new farrier a lot, he really took the time to explain what changes he was making to me and why he was making them. We put Ezhno back in his regular full set of shoes and we're letting his back hooves grow out a bit since they're a whole lot smaller than his fronts (he compared the size of his back hooves to a pony sized shoe and it almost fit, no bueno for an 1100 horse!). He's also making some gradual angle changes and he cleaned up the underside of his hooves so that there's less space for rocks to get stuck up in there. Very happy with the improvements he made!
Once Ezhno’s new kicks were installed, we went for a short ride (he felt good!) and then I put Ezhno outside to enjoy some sunshine. I captured a majestic photo of Ezhno with a bald eagle, shared an apple with my boi, and then after an hour my lily white skin started to fry (LOL), so I took him back inside (to the wonderful sound of Ezhno’s new shoes clacking on the concrete), kissed him on his squishy nose, and then left him to chill for the rest of the afternoon/all of Saturday.
Unfortunately, I spent all of Saturday at home, which means by the time Sunday rolled around I was a despondent mess (I don’t do well spending long chunks of time holed up in my room). What started out as a bad time at the barn (can I please just not get outlandishly frustrated with my horse when he misunderstands a cue on the lunge line, please?) had a quick turn around, though.
We started out our ride at a really slow, lazy walk. I’m going to be honest: I spent a couple of minutes browsing Instagram while Ezhno wandered, just so that I could chill the hell out before we got started for real. Yay for feeling confident enough to ignore my horse completely while I’m on him, HAHA.
Once I was feeling better, we turned our lackadaisical trudging into some big, loopy serpentines. We spent forever just working on our walk, which warmed us up for some great turns on the haunches in motion at the walk and the jog, plus some leg yielding off of the wall at the jog. It was like everything clicked in my head and I remembered a whole bunch of great exercises that made him have to think about lateral movements.
Plus I did the whole thing with my reins in one hand and he turned like a pro. We’re making great progress—now we just have to get past the whole canter transition problem. 😛
Just like Friday, I put Ezhno outside for a couple of hours while I did some writing right outside his paddock. Then I took the liberty of having one more short ride on him before I put him away for the day.